I ended up in Melbourne. The city I first visited eight months ago upon arriving to Australia and the city that motivated me to get OUT of cities.
I’m sure if I had been born here I’d be perfectly happy with living here; after all it has been named the “most livable” city in the world. Wow! I believe I wrote on this very blog about not wanting to stay in Melbourne and probably mentioned that, while it is a great city, I just don’t get that this-place-is-so-special feeling everyone else seems to feel here.
Yet I ended up back in Melbourne in November. What the heck happened? 😳
Well, a lot. And it’s been a roller coaster. I went from living at the beach in Port Douglas – the most chill life ever and dare I say possibly more fun than my years in college – to the fun but exhausting life of traveling again. I went to Japan (which I promise to write about) and my friend John came to visit and we road tripped New Zealand (I promise to write about that too!). And all of that was amazing.
However, as in sure you can imagine, those trips took a few Pesos to fund. And I freaked out when I realized that I did a poor job of budgeting that month of travel because money makes me anxious and crazy. That leads me to another point: I kinda suck at backpacking. Yeah, I can travel out of a carry-on backpack to Japan for ten days and I’m down with the backpacker lifestyle but I cannot sustain a month long itinerary of constant site seeing. I really need to relax, sit in silence, and recharge. I learned that it exhausts me to travel that much (it’s a hard life, I know haha). So yeah, I was running low on Pesos, tired, anxious about money and alone again after saying goodbye to my friends, missing my life in Port Douglas and freaking out like a mouse in a maze trying to find the cheese.
Should I go to Perth, where no backpacker one ever seems to go (ever), or Melbourne which seems to be everyone else’s favorite place? Melbourne, where every backpacker, like snowbirds, moved after winter. Melbourne was closer than Perth (and a cheaper flight) and I was excited to go see my friends. Plus, I got to surprise my friend Bridget and that was fun. I chose to go to Melbourne and I figured I could just move on to Perth if I felt like it. Give Melbourne a chance, I thought.
It was so overwhelming to be in the big city again after living in a small town and driving through New Zealand where there are more sheep than people. I was hating it! It was cold and windy. I was staying in a hostel which I imagine is quite similar to a crackhouse. That might be a bit of exaggeration – but the sheets did smell like a crackhouse (just guessing), I was in an 8-bed dorm with people who were drunk every night and freaking out that they lost their “drugs.” “I lost my drugs!” said the roommate who was freaking out and drunk at 10:30 on Thursday night. In my head I’m thinking, “your ‘drugs’ better be no where near my stuff! I need to get the f*** outta here.” I turn over on my smelly bed and try to imagine my happy place as I fall asleep.
After three nights in that terrible hostel (Nomads All Nations in the CBD, FYI), I was released (word to the wise: never pre-pay for multiple nights!). And, yeah, desperately I did try to move to another hostel at 11pm the second night but everything was booked so I was forced to persevere. Afterwards, I was able to move to a nice hostel where my friends were staying. They wanted to get an apartment ASAP, and I was cool with that idea because I wanted a “more stable life like what I had at home.” I was unhappy and anxious, unsure of what I should do, so I relinquished control to my friends. We found an apartment and moved in the next week.
It has been great to be living with Siobhan, Allison, and Bridget. They have helped me get my shit together and endured my craziness in December as I freaked out for a month not wanting to be here. Suffice it to say that I hit a new low, considered going home multiple times, decided I was leaving Melbourne for Perth a few times, wallowed in self pity, and complained a lot about not being able to get a job.
It sucked but now I see that period as a HUGE life lesson and growth period. I was in a very negative mindset, I wanted to give up, I was afraid I was messing up my life, I had regrets about traveling, and I felt like everything was out of my control. The turning point was when Bridget confronted me about it and in the nicest way possible told me to pick myself up. I got the message. I fixed my attitude and made a renewed effort to get a job that week.
A few days later I interviewed for two positions: one with a recruiter for a tentative call center job starting in January and another as a charity tele-fundraiser. And I got both jobs!! I fundraised for charity for 4 weeks over Christmas which gave me enough money to get by but I lost that job because I failed to make my sales goal. Womp Womp – I knew that was coming and I tried to stay positive. I contacted the recruiter to see if that other job was still a possibility.
It turned out perfect! I interviewed with the recruiter’s client and started working for them the following week! It all worked out flawlessly and I even got a week off to relax.
I learned new skills as a fundraiser and proved to myself that I can change my life when I make the effort and I can get a job of my own fruition without a personal connection. I got those jobs on my own, without help.
Remember when I said I wanted a “more stable life like what I had at home?” Well, I forgot to mention that in this job that I got through the recruiter, I am working on a contract for the NSW Government… In other words, I’m a government contractor, just like I was back at home. It is this company’s first government contract. Seriously kids, be careful what you wish for because life takes what you say literally.
Also, another note about life – those things which you say you don’t want or don’t like – life doesn’t understand or care. Life is going to unite you with those things so you can learn some lessons. During my time in Melbourne I’ve tried to remember that I am here for a reason; there is something for me to gain from this experience in Melbourne. While I have not been consciously aware of what those somethings are, its all becoming more clear with time. Meanwhile, I’ve made some new friends and made deeper connections and memories with other friends.
As I write this, I realize that this is one of those times when I’m comfortable with life and nothing is wrong. I take a deep breath and settle into that feeling.